Is it possible for the end of a storyline to feel both long overdue and abrupt simultaneously?
That was how the conclusion of the Silver Ink Killer case felt on CSI: Vegas Season 2 Episode 16.
Viewers need to become invested in a season-long storyline. They need to grow to hate the big bad, who the heroes are attempting to catch, so they have some satisfaction in the end.
That’s a difficult feat with a villain the viewers have just met.
That’s not to say that Ronald Winter wasn’t someone at whom viewers couldn’t hiss. He wasn’t even marginally likable.
He was one of those super-intelligent types that were too smart for his own good. He had to keep calling to explain his mission to the CSIs, whether they wanted to hear it.
What was quickly established was that Hester, the Silver Ink mastermind, and Winter had two very different plans.
As revealed on CSI: Vegas Season 2 Episode 15, Hester had set up a game to wipe out potential serial killers.
Winter, one of his contestants, decided to go bigger, finding ways to get rid of people that he felt were mentally defective.
Somewhere along the line, Winter decided that Allie was the only person at the lab intelligent enough to understand him. While he certainly misfired on that assessment, she was the one smart enough to determine his poison — thallium — which ultimately saved Sonya’s life.
However, Allie received an empathy gene that Winter definitely lacked. Why else would she have promised Jack they would save Sonya, however unlikely that was?
Winter failed to recognize that although he was more intelligent than anyone at the lab, they combined their brains to develop the necessary answers.
While those examining Winter’s chemistry set didn’t come up with the poison, mentioning heavy metals got Allie thinking about what substances Winter may have mined from those smoke detectors that Catherine had found. That led to her thallium diagnosis.
Max, however, developed a method to figure out what Winter meant by his cryptic promise to “lighten their workload.”
Despite Hester’s notes targeting the lab, Winter had nothing against the criminologists. He poisoned Sonya primarily to keep them busy, so they wouldn’t get in the way of his master plan to kill a considerable number of the mentally ill. In his mind, that made sense.
Figuring that Hester and Winter had connected in the chat room of Shadow Cell, Max wisely used Byron’s log-in to explore there and found their conversation by searching for the word “thallium.” Winter stupidly even listed his hypothetical target there.
Winter’s vanity, which led him to poison an unsuccessful cleaner, got him in the end, as Catherine spotted his expensive dress shoes under his lab coat and mask disguise.
It also was a bit of a letdown to discover a plastic bag was enough to contain the thallium, ending Winter’s threat.
Or did it? Much was made throughout the episode about how indecipherable Winter’s hieroglyphics were. What might some of those scribblings say when they finally do get translated?
But, hopefully, that will be a matter for another season now that CBS has renewed the series.
One other thing that’s been left hanging is the status of Sonya. Jack told Allie that doctors weren’t sure how the thallium exposure might affect her faculties.
Not to speak ill of the nearly dead, but Sonya, along with her enabler brother Jack, have been the weakest leak of CSI: Vegas this season.
The morgue has always been an integral part of the CSI narrative, starting back in the glory days of Dr. Albert Robbins.
That hasn’t been the case this season. Maybe that’s because Sonya’s aggressive style in the morgue is like nails on a chalkboard. (Kids, that’s what teachers wrote on before whiteboards.)
Viewers like their M.E.s to be eccentric (think Ducky on NCIS), not arrogant. As Dr. Hugo Ramirez, Mel Rodriguez got it right on CSI: Vegas Season 1 before choosing to depart.
So might this mean that Derek Webster’s Dr. Milton Hudson, who got an audition on CSI: Vegas Season 2 Episode 14, might be returning full-time?
Now that the show has a future, it would make sense to tinker with it, setting right those things that aren’t currently working.
Since it’s hard to say how long Catherine will be hanging around, the core group has to be able to stand on its own without a legacy character.
Looking to the future may be why Max is suddenly getting more backstory.
First, her son Byron is getting more screen time, although not as much as your average lab rat.
Now her ex-husband Daniel showed up to protect his family from a threat he clearly didn’t understand. Oh, well. It’s the thought that counts.
His contribution seemed to be securing a friend’s rental as a hideout. Since that was in Henderson, the same town as the psychiatric hospital that Winter targeted, perhaps that wasn’t as effective as he would have liked.
Their conversations didn’t shed much light on why their marriage foundered. But it appears that both were interested in rekindling that relationship. Max could use a life outside the lab, so why not?
To review the Silver Ink case, watch CSI: Vegas online.
Were you satisfied with this conclusion? Is this the conclusion?
Should the medical examiner be changed?
What did you think of Daniel?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.
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